President Obama expressed cautious optimism about getting
a sweeping immigration bill through Congress -- though he re-adjusted his timetable to this fall, acknowledging it won't happen -- as he had hoped -- by the time Congress leaves on its August recess.
The remarks came in interviews Obama gave to four Spanish language TV stations as House Republicans remain opposed to the bill. In one of the interviews, Obama attributed some
of the opposition to members who are nervous about their own
In an interview with Norma Garcia, a Telemundo news
anchor in Dallas, Obama said some House members "believe that immigration
will encourage further demographic changes and that may not be good for them
politically." (Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said the bill "would
hurt Republicans," arguing that "two out of every three of the new
citizens would be Democrats."
Obama said others are responding to constituencies
"that may have, in some cases, legitimate concerns about immigration, but
may not know all the facts, they may not know everything that we've done on the
borders to strengthen border security."
Despite the opposition, Obama said he hopes he'll be able
to sign the bill in the fall -- noting that he had originally hoped to do so
before Congress went on its August recess.
"If in fact the House recognized the smart thing,
the right thing to do, was to go ahead and send the Senate bill to the floor
for a vote, I think it would pass tomorrow," Obama said, likely with
Democratic support. But, he said, "House Republicans, I think, still have
to process this issue and discuss it further and hopefully, I think, still hear
from constituents, from businesses to labor, to evangelical Christians who all
are supporting immigration reform."
Obama gave interviews to Spanish language anchors in
Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and New York as part of a push for the immigration
legislation. In the Dallas interview, he also warned against a House plan to break up the bill into pieces, saying it would encourage a tendency to "put off the hard stuff until the end.
"If you've eaten your dessert before you've eaten your
meal, at least with my children, sometimes they don't end up eating their
vegetables," he said. "So we need to, I think, do this as a complete package."